Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

October 29, 2012

Tiger Tuesday: Stepping up

Weaver’s stellar season started in the summer

By Todd Wills
Corsicana Daily Sun

  — Cedric Weaver is this year’s DeQuan Raindle, only without the weekly diary in the newspaper.

Raindle, last year’s Golden Circle Co-Defensive Player of the Year, also got my award last year for the Tiger I saw the most at the fieldhouse during the offseason.

Raindle was always there. Working out. Talking to the coaches. Talking football.

This summer it was Cedric Weaver. He was everywhere.

When I didn’t see him at Tiger Stadium, I saw him at Whataburger — where he worked — and we talked football.

He was consumed with it. He talked about how much he wanted to win, how he wanted to be next in line behind Raindle, Cameron Washington, Tevin McDonald, Chris Edling, Dominic Kelly, Roclan Drain and so on.

It was obvious Weaver, a backup linebacker on last year’s state semifinal team, soaked it all in. All 15 games. He did play some, specifically when Dominic Kelly needed a break from playing offense and defense.

Weaver got it.

It’s no small wonder that the attitude and work ethic he had in the offseason has translated into Weaver being the Tigers’ Most Valuable Player through eight games.

There are others right there with him — Bobby Wallace, Zach Rash, Jeffrey Jordan, Jacob Grayson, Donovan Fields — but for my money Weaver has been the most consistent Tiger this season.

I’m telling you, it all started in June.

“He realized we needed leaders, especially during the summer,” Tigers coach Phil Castles said. “He’s done everything we asked him to do.”

It’s a 24/7 thing for Weaver, who can be counted on to show up Monday-Thursday and play hard on Friday.

“He practices extremely hard and he’s very focused,” Castles said. “He’s always asking questions. He’s willing to do whatever we ask him to do. He’s willing to put his hand down. He’s a really good athlete and has a good work ethic.”

Weaver said he watched the seniors last year run the team and took mental notes. He talked to them.

He especially watched Kelly, one of the team’s emotional leaders every day of the season.

“I took what Dominic did,” Weaver said. “Leading during practice and then on Friday night.”

He didn’t force his leadership on his teammates, Weaver said.

It’s more that he just went with it. It was easy for him, because he was always at the fieldhouse when other key players weren’t.

“I just wanted to put my feet into those shoes and see how it felt to do that,” Weaver said. “I’m going to keep trying.”

Weaver has become the leader of the defense. There are others — most notably Grayson and Fields.

But they both play offense too. Weaver is a “defense” guy.

“He gets fired up every time the defense gets out there,” Castles said. “He doesn’t do anything else, even though he would if we asked him. That’s what he has.”

When I told him his role on the team this year reminded me of what Raindle did for the 2011 squad, Weaver got a little emotional.

His voice cracked.

“I take a lot of pride in it,” Weaver said. “It feels good that I can take that same role as DeQuan did and use it the best I can.”

Weaver has been one of the best stories in 2012. The Tiger that has grown most into a leader and a playmaker, leading the team with close to 70 tackles.

“It’s a real neat deal for him,” Castles said.

And with two regular season games left, and then potentially the playoffs, there’s still much to do for his senior year.

“There’s still more to come,” Weaver said. “We still have a lot to prove. We’re starting to prove it now.”